Slice of life: My father’s death had a purpose

When my father died in January of 2012 it was hard and very frustrating because “life had to start then”.

I had to begin varsity and I didn’t know how I was going to pay for any of that. It was stressful because my mom also didn’t know. Even in the previous year, showing up for the matric farewell was hard. I was already thinking: “I am not going to go to varsity because asinamali.”

But my mother, shame that poor woman, my mother made a plan.

I remember I had applied to universities and got rejected. He died around the 21st and that whole week we did the funeral things and the following Monday my mother and I were going up and down looking for varsities.

She was busy in her tshali, in her mourning clothes, going around looking for varsities.


Shame, she fought hey, because I was already saying: “Let’s leave varsity. We will see it whenever and if it’s in the cards for me to go to varsity then that will happen.”

We found a private college and the fees were ridiculous but then we managed to get a bank loan for me to go there. I went there for two weeks and in the second week the University of Pretoria called, saying: “We are taking you, you can start.” The fees were much less. I think that sealed the deal for her and we made the move.

Even though my father always pulled through for me with everything I needed, I believe if God thought that we would be worse off if my father died then he wouldn’t have died.Refilwe Leso, a candidate attorney at Bokwa Attorneys, as told to Tebogo Tshwane, an Adamela Trust business journalist at the Mail & Guardian

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Tebogo Tshwane
Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University. 

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